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Mich. Lawyer's Firing Over Anti-Gay Blog Upheld

LANSING (WWJ/AP) - A state hearing officer has upheld the 2010 firing of an assistant attorney general who was accused of harassing the gay student government president at the University of Michigan.

William Hutchens of the Michigan Civil Service Commission said Andrew Shirvell was justly dismissed. He said the attorney engaged in "hate speech" on a blog and "physical and mental harassment."

Shirvell was fired by then-Attorney General Mike Cox in November 2010. He appealed, saying his conduct toward Christopher Armstrong was protected by the First Amendment. But the hearing officer said Shirvell's actions put his office in a bad light and could have discouraged people from working there.

In a lawsuit he filed against Shirvell last spring, Armstrong claimed the man had been stalking him on campus and at his home. Armstrong's attorney Deborah Gordon said in the complaint that Shirvell displayed a "bizarre personal obsession" with Armstrong through critical blog and Facebook posts in which he claimed Armstrong was pushing a "radical homosexual agenda."

Hutchens' decision is dated March 21.  Shirvell, of North Babylon, N.Y., is a 2002 University of Michigan graduate.

(TM and © Copyright 2011 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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